Is your latest business idea the next best thing since sliced bread?

Sarah-Varani-150x150You’ve had that eureka moment and have a fab idea for that next uber-product or business that will make even the Panel on Dragon’s Den sit up and take notice. You’re looking for investment and assistance to bring it to market because you are so excited and believe 100 percent in your product/concept/invention. You don’t fancy going so far as competing on the Apprentice to secure backing from Lord Sugar so you now need to work with manufacturers, designers, and acquire new business partners or associates who may have their own agenda and not necessarily have your best interests in mind. Don’t be naïve make sure you protect all your newbie ideas with love and care and don’t expose them to everybody and everything right away.

There are several ways to protect your ideas, inventions, and products. You may want to secure the Intellectual Property Rights i.e. copyright, trademark/servicemark, and patent rights on your ideas and obtain these legal protections before you make any disclosures to anyone. If you choose not to do so, you may be jeopardizing your ability to later claim the rights to such works.
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Making a Will: when and why should you do it

Most people know what a Will is. They also know that at some point in their lives they will need to make one, but many put it off in the belief that it is something they can deal with later on in life. However, there are several points during a lifetime when a Will should seriously be considered. Below we provide a list of these life-stages and explain why getting a Will is so important.

Getting married or entering a civil partnership:

Bride and GroomPerhaps the last thing on most newly-weds’ minds is getting a Will, but what many people are unaware of is the fact that when you get married, any Will you had before you got married will usually become invalid.  This means if you died after your marriage or civil partnership before making a new Will, you would be deemed to have died ‘intestate’. Dying intestate means the State decides how your estate (belongings, property and money) is distributed, regardless of your or your spouse’s wishes.  Getting a ‘Will for a married person/civil partner’ or a ‘mirror Will’ is easy to do and lets you and your spouse specify exactly how you want your assets to be distributed amongst your family.
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Fit Britain? New government guidelines on the ‘fit note’

Debbie-Haskell-150x150The government has re-visited the thorny problem of how to tackle employees who are off sick by issuing a new guidance on the fit note in March 2013 titled ‘Getting the most out of the fit note’.  The new guidance has introduced some interesting points by suggesting:

  • People can come back to work before they are a 100%
  • The employer can use the guidance provided in the fit note to see if they can help support their employee back to work
  • If an employer cannot take into account the advice provided in the fit note, they don’t have to
  • If the GP feels that the individual is fit for wok then a fit note should not be issued
  • An employee can come back to work at any time, even before their fit note expires. They do not need to go to their GP first.
  • The advice in the fit note should reflect the individual’s fitness for work in general – not specifically about their job.
  • The employer does not need to be an expert in the employee’s health condition to discuss the matter with them. Instead they should consider practical measures in supporting the employee back to work.
  • If the fit  note says that the employee may be fit for work and the employee can be supported to return to work earlier then this should generally last at least as long as the duration of the fit note.
  • When applying any practical measures to support the employee back the employer should also consider a risk assessment.
  • If the fit note says that the employee may be fit for work but you can’t agree on any changes then the employer should treat the note as if it says that the employee is not fit for work.

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What do you do when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ride into town? Part 2:

Sarah-Varani-150x150In my last blog, I gave some advice on what you can to avoid dealing with a ‘dodgy’ builder or other tradesman.  In this blog, I’ll explain the do’s and don’ts of engaging a builder and ensuring everything is legal and goes to plan.

Before the work starts

Minor jobs for minor works, if no suitable contract is supplied by the tradesman, you should consider drawing up your own building contract. Alternatively, a number of document resources are available on the MyLawyer website.

If there are plans and specifications for the work, details should be included within the agreement. The work must be clearly defined in the agreement so that there can be no doubt as to exactly what the contractor is expected to do. If the owner is to provide the materials, it should be stated in the agreement. If the owner has particular requirements as to the materials to be used, that should also be specified.

Bigger jobs for bigger home improvement and building jobs, there are extra things to think about.

Step 1: Do you need planning permission?

•    Does your work need to comply with building regulations?
•    Do you need listed building or conservation area consent?
•    Check with your local authority’s planning and building control department.

Step 2: Do you need your neighbours’ agreement?

Check whether any fences and walls you have in common will be affected. Discuss and agree this with your neighbours. If the builders are going to need to access your neighbour’s land, you will want to make a request for access to your neighbour’s land by letter. Continue reading What do you do when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ride into town? Part 2: